New Yorkers aren’t easily impressed -- unless the Knicks are leading the East before Thanksgiving. Then we find stubborn citizens uncharacteristically feeling weak in the knees. New York has let its defense down, at roughly the same time as the Knicks learned how to play it.
Yes, when it comes to the Knicks, the buzzword is hope, whereas in the recent past, it was nope. A franchise that saw Isiah Thomas pull off one of the all-time magic stunts -- he made an entire decade vanish -- is bathing in the luxury of early-season success. Not only are the Knicks winning, they’ve done it decisively at times, leading a championship-starved city to prematurely party like it’s 1973.
Carmelo Anthony, the biggest star since Patrick Ewing, is playing at an MVP level for perhaps the first time in his life. A coach who lost his last job when his players “planked” on him is getting his message across. A group of older Knicks, considered up past their bedtime, have hiked the basketball IQ level tremendously. And this is happening while the Knicks are missing two mainstays in the rotation, their scoring big man and their best ball-hawking defender, both on the mend and expected back soon.